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Pope Francis Declares 19 Algerian Martyrs Blessed, including Little Sister of the Assumption, Sr. Paul-Hélène St. Raymond

February 2, 2018, Algeria

They gave their lives for Christ and for the Algerian people and remained faithful to the commitment right up to the violence that disfigured Algeria during the « Black Decade » (1990s). The entire Catholic Church recognizes the power of the witness they bore, that of a Christian life carried out in the midst of Muslims.

On February 7, 2018, Pope Francis signed the decree of beatification of Bishop Pierre Claverie and his 18 companions. « A life of service for all » « They all died because they chose, by God’s grace, to remain faithful to those who in the communities where they served had become their neighbors », wrote the bishops of Algeria in a joint communiqué. « Their death showed that their life was at the service of all: the poor, women in trouble, the handicapped, the young, and all Muslims. A murderous ideology, a distortion of Islam, could not tolerate these others who were different by virtue of their nationality and faith ».

Among these martyrs killed between 1993 and 1996 number the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, abducted and assassinated in the spring of of 1996, Most Rev. Pierre Claverie, the for mer bishop of Oran murdered in August of the same year, but also a Marist brother, Henri Vergès, four White Fathers, assassinated at Tizi Ouzou the day after Christmas in 1994 and six religious women from different congregations present in Algeria (Our lady of the Apostles, Missionary Augustinians, the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and the little Sisters of the Assumption).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 11:20

(In 2001 a team of volunteers from the Brussels neighborhood of Koekelberg, under the leadership of the Assumptionists, launched an innovative initiative: accompanying individuals in need as they went through required administrative hoops to receive social services. The idea, simple though it may have been, answered a real need. In 15 years this non-profit organization, called “Accompagner” has lent a hand to more than 6,000 people. At the 2011 general chapter of the Assumptionists it was named one of 7 'mobilizing works' of the institute, works that, by virtue of the nature and quality of their work, serve as flagship ministries deserving of widespread support and imitation throughout the Congregation.)

Accompagner volunteers and staffAccompagner volunteers and staff

An Interview with its Founder and Director, Fr. Guy Leroy:

- Fr. Guy, how is Accompagner doing?

- Too well….unfortunately!

- Why do you say, « Unfortunately »?

- This year volunteers and salaried staff have been extraordinarily dedicated to the cause of the neediest. We have “accompanied » more than a thousand people to various sites, 1037 to be exact. More than 70 volunteers have taken part. This number has been rising each year and this is the first year we have broken a thousand. More than 100 other organizations have requested our help. Unfortunately, this means that poverty and insecurity are increasing in Belgium, and in Brussels in particular.

- You mentioned more than 70 ‘companion’ volunteers although at times you also used the number closer to 40.

- Yes, on average, we have about 40 volunteers available at any given moment to do the work. There is a large turnover among the volunteers. Many young people do not stay for a long time. The fact that they’re able to get back into the professional world renews their confidence and employers’ confidence in them. After a few months they are able to get back into the work world. For them Accompagner becomes a springboard to full-time employment. Fortunately, we’re always getting new volunteers.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 11:15

Pope Francis has proclaimed Friday, February 23 a Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Pope Francis has proclaimed Friday, February 23 a Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

200 Assumptionists serve in the DRC in schools, parishes, hospitals, orphanages, job training centers and formation communities. Three of these Assumptionists were kidnapped in 2012 and have not been heard from since, and one Assumptionist priest was assassinated for his efforts on behalf of peace and justice in the DRC in 2016.

Several opportunities will be offered on campus on February 23 to call attention to the situation in the DRC and to pray for peace there:

*Mass at 12:00 and 5:00 PM, Chapel

*Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 8:30 AM-12:00 PM and 12:30-3:30 PM, Chapel

*Stations of the Cross at 3:30 PM, Chapel

*DRC Info Table by CRS Social Justice Ambassadors during lunch hours, Taylor Dining Hall.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 February 2018 14:17


On Feb. 2, 2018, in front of a crowd that included members of the Augustinians of the Assumption, family, friends, parishoners, and locals, Bros. Rodel Cervantes, A.A., and Marciano Lopez, A.A., professed their final vows in Tlilapan, Mexico, where the Assumptionists have a parish.

In a post on Facebook, Cervantes said lying prostrate during the Litany of the Saints was “a very special moment.”

“Now I know the feeling of being prayed for by the people and calling the saints to help me fully live my religious vows until death,” he wrote. “Grateful for the Augustinians of the Assumption.”

Lopez, also in a post on Facebook, thanked all who attended the profession and said he appreciated everyone’s prayers.

During his homily, Fr. Dennis Gallagher, A.A., provincial superior of the North American Province, told the brothers that “the light of Christ shines forth this day as you profess your vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.”

Brother Ryan Carlsen's, A.A. Final Vows PDF Print E-mail

Brother Ryan Carlsen's, A.A. Final Vows


Marciano Lopez Solis and Rodel Cervantes Sapalo

Orizaba, Mexico
February 2, 2018

Chano and Rodel,

You have come to this day of celebration at the end of several years of formation to the Assumptionist way of life.  These years have not been without uncertainties, without struggle. But with God’s grace you have persevered.  You now stand ready to profess your vows.  You are choosing to spend your lives in service to God’s kingdom, using the gifts that God has given you to become apostles for that kingdom.

Besides your Assumption family, both religious and lay, who have accompanied you through these years of formation, it is good to mention your families of origin who not only gave birth to you in the flesh, but who gave you the precious gift of your faith.
A special word of welcome and appreciation for your family members who are with you today.

We should also recognize the immediate context in which you profess your vows, this community of faith here in Orizaba, who have welcomed you during these past six months and taken you into their hearts.  Their faith and their joy for what God is doing in you, and through you for God’s people, is very much part of this day.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 13:12
Assignment to the Eastern Mission PDF Print E-mail

On January 6th, 2018, Bro. Ryan Carlsen, A.A. professed his final vows as an Augustinian of the Assumption.On January 6th, 2018, Bro. Ryan Carlsen, A.A. professed his final vows as an Augustinian of the Assumption.

By Bro. Ryan Carlsen, A.A.

In the Augustinians of the Assumption, when a brother makes final vows the superior general of the congregation gives him his first assignment. After making final vows I was assigned to the “Eastern Mission.” We have communities in Moscow, Bucharest, Plovdiv, Constantinople (Istanbul), and elsewhere. One of the main concerns of the Eastern Mission is the work for unity with the Orthodox.  This was close to Fr. d’Alzon’s heart and remains compelling for the Church at large. St. John Paul II spoke of his desire that the Church breathe with both lungs again, East and West. And recently, Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill of Russia. The desire for unity is felt on both sides.

One way of working for unity between East and West is by studying each other’s history and theology and then talking together about it. There has already been a long official dialog in North America between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches going back to shortly following the Second Vatican Council. The world-wide dialog is a little newer and has been proceeding well. The more we understand where the other is coming from, the easier and more desirable it becomes to find the common ground.  Being assigned to the “Mission to the East” means that I will start off with doctoral studies in Eastern Christianity in Rome this year. After that I will go to a community in Eastern Europe.

Final Profession PDF Print E-mail

Bro. Ryan with his familyBro. Ryan with his family

On the 6th of January 2018 I made lifelong vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Assumptionist Rule of Life. 

The Profession Mass took place in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Assumption College.  My immediate family flew in from Colorado and Hawaii. I was happy that the long-awaited moment had arrived and that my relationship with the Lord would be strengthened and supported by this visible commitment of exclusivity and permanence.

A life’s vocation consists in making a gift of oneself.  Ultimately it is a gift to God, returning to Him what He has already given.   One can do this through making a gift of oneself to a spouse. Or in other ways like the religious life, consecrated virginity, or the single life given over to God. What is wonderful about lifelong vows is that they allow one to move forward unhindered in certain new ways. New concerns replace older ones. There is a sense of rest from difficulties that until then had been defining.


Kinshasa, January 27, 2018

Dear Sisters Dear Friends,

« If the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain do the watchmen keep vigil. »
Ps 126:1b

Many of you have been hoping to receive some news. Finally I can share something with you. Thank you for your prayers for us.


On Sunday, January 21, 2018, while at Mass, even though we hadn’t received the final blessing nor even instructions about the upcoming march, we were caught by surprise when tear gas came streaming into the church. It was flying everywhere. We hurried about the church looking for people who had brought margarine to be applied to faces. When they stopped using the tear gas, the celebrant, the pastor of St. Augustine’s, courageously took up the cross, walked in front of the Christian community, and began to march. We followed him.


There was a crowd of non-Catholics waiting outside to join us. Within minutes the police attacked us. They grabbed the priest, threw him down into the mud and tore his liturgical vestments. Then the crowd began to disperse. Some courageous young people, however, kept marching up to a point about 10 minutes from the church. There they were ambushed; the police began firing their guns at point blank range; one of the young people was hit and died. They brought his body back to the parish.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 13:14

Veronika with friends

January 23, 2018

Thanks to the help of the Augustinians of the Assumption in USA and France, as well as the Oblates Sisters of the Assumption, a young woman has the opportunity to study abroad in Nîmes, France for a school year. Veronika Jaster is a junior in high school from Northborough, Massachusetts, and she is the daughter of Tomasz Jaster, who works for the Assumptionists in their Boston headquarters.

Veronika is staying with a host family who is very caring and welcoming, and she attends the Institut Emmanuel d’Alzon with her host sister. The Institute is a private Catholic school that is composed of a middle school, high school, vocational school and university. Veronika is studying in the high school’s Literary branch, where most of her courses focus on the humanities and the arts. Veronika also plays the cello in the high school’s music band.

She often visits the city’s Assumptionist communities and spends time with the Brothers and Sisters. One of the Sisters gave her a tour of the local Emmanuel d’Alzon museum, and Veronika found it very interesting to learn about the history of d’Alzon’s childhood, his mission, and his legacy that continues today all over the world.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 January 2018 12:36
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